Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Almost every day we are confronted with another self-contradictory political statement or oxymoron. Here are just a few I have collected over the last few months, and you can be sure there will be many more in the months ahead.
How about these two? We have to cut taxes and balance the budget. Duh! We also need to eliminate millions of government jobs and reduce unemployment. (Far more jobs are being created than the statistics show because of the offsetting number of government jobs that are being cut.)
Then there are those who demand that government get out of our personal lives – except for pregnant woman.
Supporters of the health insurance industry scream at us, “You don’t want a government bureaucrat coming between you and your doctor.” But they ignore the fact that companies in that business maintain huge staffs whose primary purpose is to cut or deny claims for procedures recommended by your doctor, or to terminate coverage they consider to be an impediment to company profits.
Retirees join in on the clamor against “socialized medicine” – unless it happens to go by the name of Medicare.
Republicans in Congress are fighting against any increase in taxes on the wealthy, who use that money to further increase their wealth, when it is small businesses that provide the majority of jobs, and the prosperity of the middle class determines the health of the economy.
These same politicians talk about creating well-paying job opportunities, but are cutting funding for the education of young people and the retraining of workers whose jobs have vanished – the very education both groups need to prepare them for those better jobs.
Congressmen rail against government waste, but are unwilling to trim their own nonessential spending, or cut any of their lavish benefits. They have the best universal health care available, but stand in the way of anything like that for the rest of us.
We hear about all the financial costs of illegal immigration, but want cheap goods (especially food) and services, which we would not be able to enjoy if it were not for low-paid immigrant workers.
Any measures that would result in redistribution of wealth are anathema to the wealthy, regardless of the reality that they would only serve to redress some of the flagrant upward redistribution of wealth that has been going on for more than a decade.
The complaint by the 99 percent about the excessive accumulation of wealth by the top 1 percent has been labeled class warfare. But doesn’t the overwhelming political power of that 1 percent, which has enabled them to divert an unconscionable preponderance of the nation’s wealth into their hands, constitute a class warfare that has divided our society into the very small “have” and the very large “have-not” classes?
We are being brain-washed about the ills of big government, but how many of these programs would the American people be willing to give up or see gutted?
• Effective regulation of safe drinking water and clean air
• Requirements for safe working conditions
• Monitoring to assure us pure foods and safe drugs
• Monitoring to insure that hospitals are safe
• Regulations to assure us of safe automobiles, ships and airplanes
• Health and cancer research, and disease control measures
• Safety inspection of imported toys
• Financial support for public education and colleges
• Highway and bridge construction and maintenance
• Maintenance of our national parks and forests
• Emergency disaster relief
• Care for the needs of veterans
• Consumer protection against exploitation by financial institutions and unsafe manufactured goods
The list could go on and on, but it is crucial that in the measures we must take to balance federal and state budgets, we don’t end up throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Finally, a few election-year comments:
Conservatives are not against wealth unless it is Mitt Romney’s.
Tea-partiers are against all Washington insiders except Newt Gingrich.
Evangelicals and fundamentalists are for the sanctity of marriage for all, except Newt Gingrich.
Isn’t it ironic that those competing for the GOP nomination can come up with details of every real or imagined flaw in their opponents’ past, but don’t seem to be willing or able to spell out specifically what they would do, if elected, to solve the serious problems threatening the future of our country? Instead, they just keep on attacking one another, dwelling on the past, and expounding only vague generalities about their plans for the future.
“As I See It” appears on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Hal Sundin lives in Glenwood Springs and is a retired environmental and structural engineer. Contact him at email@example.com.
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